The influence of crack-initiating feature on the environment-assisted cracking (EAC) behavior of sensitized AA5456-H116 exposed to marine environments is assessed via fracture mechanics-based testing. Specimens that contained either a traditional fatigue precrack or purposefully introduced intergranular corrosion fissures were immersed in 0.6 M NaCl and polarized to select electrochemical potentials while held at a constant force. The measured crack length vs. time relationships from these experiments reveal that the two specimen geometries yield similar crack growth rates at −900 mVSCE and after the onset of accelerated crack propagation at −800 mVSCE. However, precorroded specimens exhibit significantly shorter times to failure than the precracked specimens at −800 mVSCE due to increased crack growth rates at the start of the experiment. The mechanical, environmental, and material factors that could contribute to the initially increased EAC susceptibility of the precorroded specimens are identified using a generalized model for EAC. Analysis of these possible causal factors suggests that the increased susceptibility is due to a residual, initially more deleterious crack chemistry at the occluded corrosion fissure tip from the aggressive galvanostatic polarizations used to accelerate fissure growth. The implications of these results on the efficacy of traditional fracture mechanics-based methods for quantifying EAC susceptibility are discussed.

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